Mar 28

Travelling to Germany? Tips for getting mobile internet access

by in Budget Tips, Europe, Inspiration

 

photo 1-5

I am currently travelling across Germany for 50 days, blogging and using Social Media to share with my readers some of the coolest youth hotspots across the country.

Key part of my trip was gaining access to mobile internet so that I can share the trip real-time.

The internet roaming packages offered by UK networks are pretty poor at the moment and I’ve had my fair share of  huge bills in the past when using my phone abroad.

Plus trying to get my iPhone4s unlocked is pretty expensive and a bit of a logistical nightmare.

Either way, I think I’ve found a few good solutions for you.

I’ve given you the lowdown of mobile internet options I discovered in the course of my research which I hope will me of help to you when planning your trip to Germany in the future.

 

1. If your phone is unlocked- Buy a Prepaid sim card with flat internet data plans

To buy a simcard from a German mobile operator requires you to be a German citizen.

My tip: I would give the name of a “german friend” and their birth date plus address. Ask their permission.

Or give the address of your hostel and carry your passport with you-this worked for me at O2.

Options for prepaid sim cards with flat internet data plans

There are a ton of great value prepaid sim packages out there, even Aldi sell these simcards so feel free to shop around. Blau.de comes recommended from fellow travellers so I’ve outlined their packages below.

Blau.de offer the following flat internet data packages

 

  • Internet-Flat 1GB   €9,90
  • Internet-Flat 3GB   €14.90
  • Internet-Flat 5GB   €19.80

 

Internet-Flat data packages lasts 30 days, UMTS/HSDPA will be used up to a specified data-limit, after reaching that limit you are downgraded to GPRS/EDGE

You can order your simcard in advance and get it sent to the place you are staying in Germany. Blau.de only deliver to German addresses

Micro-sims cost an extra 13 euros.

Starter packs containing a normal sized SIM card can be purchased from large high street retailers in Germany, e.g. the Kaufland super market chain or from Blau.de /E Plus stores.

Or…

If you want to order your simcard in advance and live in the UK you could try Ritesim.com

I used them when travelling to India ( which is a nightmare for buying a simcard ) and they were fantastic. Ordered online and within 48 hours, the simcard was delivered and I was ready to plug into my old warhorse-the iPhone 3g

Ritesim can offer an O2 simcard with unlimited data ( 1GB at 3G speeds, afterwards switches to 2G , 30 days only) for £32 so if you have little time and a short trip, this might be a better solution.

 

huawai mobile internet

Huawai Mobile Internet ‘Mifi’ device

 

If your phone is locked- Buy a mobile internet ‘mifi’ device

 

If like me, your phone is locked, the other solution you have is to buy a mobile internet ‘mifi’ device.

These devices last for 6 hours and can connect upto 5 internet devices at speeds of upto 21.1 Mbps

You can buy them on Ebay for very little but I would suggest going for a decent quality option.

It’s an initial steep investment but pays off on subsequent trips abroad when you can just plug in a local internet data sim and off you go…..

I bought a Huawei Mobile Wifi device from  Amazon UK and recommend them. They have stores in major cities across Germany. My Huawei Mifi device costs £43.

 

IMG_2699

 

Once you’ve got the internet device, all you have to do is find a prepaid simcard with a flat internet data plan, and pop into the device as show in the picture above.

You can choose Blau.de or go for O2 like I did which till date has been pretty reliable.

02 prepaid sim germany

 

They offered choice of three packages to me

 

  • Internet –Flat 1 GB:    €15
  • Internet-Flat 5 GB:     €25
  • Internet-Flat 7.5 GB:  €35

 

There is a ton of O2 shops across Germany where you can purchase your prepaid internet sim.

Activation takes between 5 minutes to an hour maximum so it’s great.

As with Blau.de , this data package lasts 30 days after which you can go into any O2 store and top-up again.

 

Or… finding free wifi hotpsots using the Youth Hotspots app

1364451_1

 

Another option is obviously to switch your phone to ‘Flight Mode’ and access the internet at Free Wifi hotspots.

This is easier now thanks to the new Youth Hotspots app that the German National Tourism Office have developed

Download the app (  Apple Store & Android Store  ) and you can discover 1300 free Wi-Fi networks all over Germany

Hope you found my advice useful.

 

Please share it with your friends on Facebook and also leave your feedback, useful tips in the comments section below. Danke schon!

 

Big thanks to the German National Tourism Office , their partners for the ‘Youth Hotspots’ campaign – Jugendherberge : The German Youth Hostelling Associationand Deutsche Bahn for sponsoring my ‘German Wanderlust’ tour.

I’m touring Germany as part of an effort to highlight and discover the country’s emerging ‘Youth Hotspots.’

Find out more about these hotspots at their website , feel free to add your own and also do download their free youth hotspots app that is now available on the Apple Store & Android Store .

Please note: While my trip has been sponsored, the views and thoughts represented in this article are my own.

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38 Responses to “Travelling to Germany? Tips for getting mobile internet access”

  1. From Life Lessons of a Military Wife:

    Wait a minute. I’m not a German citizen and bought a fonic.de sim for my iPad for data. Costs me 9,99€ a month prepaid. Buy it at any Shell gas station. Also see fyve.de and Tchibo.de cheap data. When I got an iPhone 5 I did have to have fonic mail me the nano sim or you can buy a SIM card cutter to turn a regular SIM card into micro or nano.

    Posted on March 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Cheers for the tip. Love to publish this and share it (will link to your blog definitely )

      What data plan did you get? Will check this out at the next Shell station I visit :)

      Also to keep in mind , I am looking at short-term contracts and not monthly ones..

      Posted on March 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm #
  2. From Tina:

    Personal I wouldn’t recommand using O2 since the network isn’t best when it comes to mobile internet acess, specially if you’re travelling off the beaten track aka the bigger cities.
    There are congstar (using t-mobile) or deutschlandsim (using Vodafone) which are cheap aswell but with the better network. Both means you need a german adress.

    Posted on March 31, 2013 at 8:18 am #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Hey Tina

      Thanks for the tips re Congstar and Deutschlandsim- going to check this out soon and will add your tips to the piece if that’s cool and link to your blog :)

      Posted on March 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm #
  3. From Alexander Koval:

    The best bang for the buck you get with http://edeka-mobil.de/

    They have a 9,99€ Data 30-Days plan where you have 500MB on 3G+ and they are running on the Vodafone Network which is the best one here in Germany.

    Best thing is, you can get the sim-cards in their grocery shops.

    Posted on May 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Not a bad deal Alex for those looking to have access to emails and check Facebook while on the move. Thanks for the tip mate :)

      Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:20 am #
  4. From mberlin:

    your info is incorrect regarding sim cards and the need to be a german citizen. anyone can buy a sim…just walk in to any phone store (vodafone, t mobile, etc) and just ask. Switch it out. I live in Berlin and someone saying you need to be a German citizen to get a sim card is absolutely incorrect.

    Posted on July 3, 2013 at 8:23 am #
  5. From Caz:

    Hi, when you inserted the SIM card did it not keep asking you to enter pin? What does this mean? I obviously can’t enter a pin Because mifis don’t have any number buttons. I have heard that this might be because with german sims everytime you turn the device off and then on you have to unlock the sim card :/ can this be deactivated?

    Thanks

    Posted on August 15, 2013 at 7:37 am #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Hi Caz

      This is a part I did not mention.
      When you buy the simcard you will find the PIN number on the flyer, package that came when your purchased the simcard.

      Enter that pin number and your sim should be activated for use.

      Plus the mifi device comes with a password which you should enter when you start using it.

      Hope this information helps and works-please drop me a line to tell me how it went :)

      Posted on August 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm #
  6. From jms:

    Just got back from Germany. When arrived at Frankfurt airport, went to the O2 shop in terminal 2. Bought for 40 Euros an Ortel Mobile SIM (don’t know the connection with O2?), with 3GB of data and some additional credit for voice minutes. The guy in the shop set it all up for me, which I probably would not have been able to do myself, as I don’t speak German. Have a Lumia 620, which I configured as an access point (MiFi). Whole family was able to connect.
    Only problem was coverage in some of the places. In Zell in the Black Forest, a town of about 8000, where I stayed for a week, I only got GPRS!!! In the medium to big towns I was able to get see decent HSPA rates.

    Posted on August 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Yup O2′s coverage can be a bit iffy in rural parts of Germany. €40 for 3GB of data sounds pricey with voice minutes. Prepaid data only is the best deal ( use Skype to make calls home and worldwide, much cheaper and better deal)

      Thanks for the tip and feedback :)

      Posted on August 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm #
  7. From Vijil:

    :-D Thanks for the info.

    1. I am living in Sweden and over here , we have unlimited 3G internet for around 10 euros . Hence when I come to Germany, 1 GB and 3 GB plans are very annoying.Since I make a huge amount of internet calls and watch youtube videos,3 GB is not enough. I wish for unlimited internet offers in Germany too.

    2. I am originally from India, and as you said , its a pain in the @#$ to get a sim card in India , all of a sudden. To add more , now the rules have been changed , and TRAI ( Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ) have introduced this new rule that the address of the sim card buyer needs to be verified before the sim is activated. Hence, even if you buy a sim, you need to have an address , and then also , address verification takes around 7 days. So, you have to wait for 7 days to actually start using your sim card.

    Posted on August 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Hey Viljil

      You can get bigger deals for prepaid internet with O2 so check them out on your next visit.
      I visit India often ( have family there) and share your frustration with getting simcards while I am over there. Usually have to register the sim under my father’s name to get it done quickly, otherwise takes forever to organize the connection.

      Thanks for dropping by and come again soon :)

      Kash

      Posted on August 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm #
  8. From Mike:

    Hi. I have a question about mifi device. You have mentioned that it works 4 hours. Did you mean without charge? Can it stay on all the time if plugged to electrical outlet? Does it use a data plan when it is on, even if no wify device is networking with it?
    I am going to Uberlingen for 5 or 10 months. Any local advice on Internet connection?
    Thank you for clarification.

    Posted on August 29, 2013 at 1:56 am #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Hi Mike

      If you have the mifi device plugged to an electrical outlet you can work all day long with that connection. Data plan is used only when you use it so keeping it switched on should be fine.
      There are better mifi devices out there which hold charge for longer and bit more pricier than the one I bought.
      My other suggestion would be to use a USB wifi stick which you can plug directly into your laptop.
      However with the mifi device you can go anywhere and have free internet….

      Posted on August 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm #
  9. From Keith:

    For mobile internet AND calling you are best of with a provider that is targeted on international calling since the differences are quiet big throughout all networks, currently the best for data and calling I could find is the Lebara germany sim card from which you can call for only € 0,01 per minute to the US.

    Posted on September 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Yup. Saw Lebara’s offering while at London Stansted airport recently-great deals on phone calls but data offer is still poor for countries abroad.

      Posted on September 26, 2013 at 4:54 pm #
  10. From John:

    Hey, I came across your post but I can’t seem to find where the Blau.de 1GB, 3GB, 5GB prepaid data packages are! Can you perhaps point me in the right direction?

    Also, do you maybe know anything about similar plans in Spain and/or Sweden?

    Thanks,
    John

    Posted on September 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Hey John

      Sorry for coming back to you late on this one.

      Drop by any Blau.de shop to get their deals, same goes with O2.

      Spain and Sweden-have to do some research!

      Posted on September 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm #
  11. From Simone Haslam:

    Just wanted to say thank you – I learned so much by finding your post Thanks

    Posted on October 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm #
  12. From gift_ondarock:

    Hi,Thank you for review this. I hv a question.
    As I will go to Berling on Dec13 for 4 days.
    Can I find the SIM card for iphone data usage in Berlin international airport? I have hotel address,is it ok for prepaid SIM?

    Pls kindly advise.
    Thank you in advance.

    Gift_ondarock

    Posted on November 10, 2013 at 3:22 am #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Sorry for belated reply. Should be able to buy a sim card at the airport.

      Posted on December 23, 2013 at 12:09 am #
  13. From malay:

    Hey, I just say that do try Lyca mobile and Lebara mobiles sim cards. They are virtual mobile network technology and very cheap. The network are the best as they are using T-mobile and o2 or vodafone network. Calls to international mobiles as low as 0.01 euro per minute. Eben some countries are free. Check this out in lycamobile.de and lebara.de …. you can get those sim cards before leaving your country. Lyca and lebara provide free sim cards. You can get attractive bundle offers also. Data packae also available. Minimul documents required. Go through the websites. If you are from India then place the order from uniconnect.in….they will take only 150 rs for the sim…

    Posted on December 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm #
    • From Kenbr:

      Hey, I followed your tip and got a lycamobile sim. Do you know how can I use the sim with a mifi?

      Posted on February 13, 2014 at 11:33 pm #
      • From BudgetTraveller:

        Belated reply – if your Mifi device is unlocked it should be able to work. Fingers crossed!

        Posted on March 25, 2014 at 10:45 am #
  14. From Mirna:

    Thank you very much for the useful information. It is priceless!!

    Posted on December 20, 2013 at 10:41 am #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Mirna-my pleasure! Drop by the blog soon and join me on Facebook : Facebook.com/BudgetTraveller

      Posted on December 20, 2013 at 11:32 am #
  15. From D Yuen:

    Hey, I am from Hong Kong and need to go to Germany 55566 Bad Sobernheim area for 2 months. Anyone knows how is the data connectivity there? or telco provider has a better coverage?

    Great thanks in advanced. ^_^

    Posted on February 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Sorry Daniel…have no clue what connectivity is like there. Good luck and best wishes. Kash

      Posted on March 25, 2014 at 10:44 am #
  16. From John D.:

    Excellent article and follow-up postings, thanks!
    The question raised by Caz above interests me and I don’t think you posted an answer, viz
    “I obviously can’t enter a pin Because mifis don’t have any number buttons.”
    Is this true and if so how do you get around it?

    Posted on April 1, 2014 at 10:49 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      Hey John

      I did. Must have missed it out…This is what I advised Caz

      When you buy the simcard you will find the PIN number on the flyer, package that came when your purchased the simcard.

      Enter that pin number and your sim should be activated for use. You will be asked to enter the pin number and password (comes with mifi device) on your mobile when connecting to the mifi device

      Hope this information helps and works-please drop me a line to tell me how it went :)

      Posted on April 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm #
      • From mukesh Bhat:

        Hi Budget Traveller,
        Would be travelling to Germany for 8 days, I need two things, one a basic Pay as you go SIM(just for making and receiving calls while in Germany) second a SIM for my DONGLE( I have 3G dongle here in the UK from O2(pay as you go) and would like to use it with O2 in Germany, but the O2 retailer told that the Dongle is locked and could only be used with O2 SIM abroad??
        But I read in the blog that the O2 network is not good in smaller towns)
        Which would be the best options for my above 2 needs, would really appretiate a quick response as my travel plans are coming next week.

        Posted on May 19, 2014 at 11:17 am #
        • From BudgetTraveller:

          Hi Mukesh

          O2 network served me well during most of my trip so I see no problem with getting a data card from O2. Your other option is to get the dongle unlocked or invest in a mifi device ( Costs £30- £50 nowadays ) if you plan to do more overseas trips.

          Posted on May 20, 2014 at 9:50 am #
  17. From John D.:

    Thanks so much for the rapid reply!
    Obviously, though, I’m missing out on something… My question is HOW can I enter the PIN number, if there are no number buttons on the MIFI device, or was Caz incorrect in stating this?
    John

    Posted on April 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm #
    • From BudgetTraveller:

      John.

      Mifi device I had was unlocked so it should work pretty much straightaway. Sometimes it would ask me for the password on my phone which is on the inside case of the Mifi device. Never asked for a PIN.

      Posted on April 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm #
  18. From John D.:

    That clears it for me!
    Many thanks again for your help!
    John

    Posted on April 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm #
  19. From John D.:

    Just home from Munich. Found buying sim for my mobile hotspot much trickier than expected. I speak German, but even so it was a challenge: Some sims looked just perfect for purpose reading the blurb. On further investigation, you’d find they could not be used as modem (mifi hotspot) and others didn’t permit VOIP so I found it a bit of a minefield. Nothing suitable was available for less than the 20 euro I paid for 200Mb. (I had to curtail my searching a bit due to time pressure.) The request for pin came up on my mifi and guy in shop popped the sim into his phone to clear that problem.
    And now a question please. Anyone know good value data only flat rate sim for my mifi to use in AUSTRIA soon? Very grateful for any advice offered.
    Thanks again for most helpful article!
    John

    Posted on April 30, 2014 at 11:17 am #

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to get around Germany on the cheap | GlobetrotterGirls Travel - November 18, 2013

    […] to use the carpooling, train or bus apps during your travels. Fellow traveler Kash breaks down all SIM card options in Germany including data in this post. Another advantage to having a German SIM is that while there is free […]

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